Towel Guide: What is GSM?

13 November 2012

Zenith Towels - 700 GSM (grams per square meter)Here at The Turkish Towel Company we field a lot of questions about GSM, from “What is it?” to “What’s the best for me?”  The first question is the easiest to answer, so let’s tackle that one first!

What is GSM?

GSM is short for grams per square meter. All fabrics have a weight, and the standard measurement for the weight and quality of fabrics (including towels) is grams per square meter. This number refers to the density of the towel. High quality Turkish cotton towels are generally heavier and are more absorbent.

Towels can vary anywhere between 300 GSM and 900 GSM. The lower the number, the lighter and thinner the towel. For instance:

300-400 GSM – In this weight, as noted, the towels are lighter and thinner. But, depending on its use, you might want a lower GSM for the gym towel or a kitchen towel. A lightweight, quicker-drying beach towel might be around 350 GSM, for instance.

400-600 GSM – This is a medium weight. This weight is great for beach towels, bath towels, guest towels and so forth. Each consecutive gram weight –400, 500, 600– gets a little heavier, and a little more absorbent.

600-900 GSM – This is a premium, luxury weight. The towel will be denser, heavier, more absorbent. It will probably take a little longer to dry.

Other factors that will influence the towel’s softness and absorbency are: type of cotton, whether the manufacturer uses a polyester blend (as we say here at The Turkish Towel Company “Ixnay on the olyesterpay!”), whether the cotton is a single or double loop, and so on.

Which GSM Weight is Right For Me?

Assuming the towel is made from quality Turkish cotton, what GSM is right for you? That’s a harder question to answer…

For instance, our Lexi towels are 600 GSM. A single loop cotton, they offer good absorbency, and have a slightly shaggier feel to them. This shaggier finish offers a more invigorating experience when drying off. They also dry a little quicker.

On the other hand, the Zenith and Mini Squares lines are 700 GSM and made from double-loop cotton. They are more absorbent, and have a smoother finish. They are incredibly soft, and a very high-end bath product.

So, what GSM is right for you? There are no rights or wrongs here; put seven people in a room, and you will get seven different answers. Anything over 600 GSM becomes a matter of personal taste and lifestyle.

Customer Reviews

  1. says:

    I am assuming you are trying to get the pounds per dz weight for a towel. If so, you need to know the size of the towel and convert it to centimeters. Than multiple the width times the length times the gsm then divide by 463 and multiple by 12 to get pounds per dozen.

    i.e., size of towel is 70 x 140 and weight is 560 gsm: 70 x 140 = 9800 x 548800 ~ 463 = 12114 x 12 = 14(.)537 put in . after 14 and you get 14.5 # per dz

  2. santhanam says:

    How we can calculate the weight of the towels , if we know only the GSM & size of the towel

  3. peggy oguin says:

    I bought eight of everything, bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths. They say wash before using, I washed them, again and again, about four times now, still I have lint on my body and all over the tile floor. What to do, I love them, they are the perfect color, but I can’t deal with all the lint.

  4. Nikhil Rele says:

    Thanks. The information is quite informative. Just to understand how is GSM calculated. Can you please help me with this

  5. EHab says:

    Really good article, thanks for the new data i didnt know before about GSM where you have simplified it, i will take care about the gsm in my next shopping

  6. Madhukant verma says:

    can u please send me details of GSM in towels

  7. Susan says:

    Gsm, size, weight, material. then the price is clear.

  8. Hi John,

    There are so many factors to consider, not just the type of cotton (Turkish, Egyptian, US, etc.) but how it manufactured, length, uniformity, strength and so on.

    Here is a little more information:

    How Does Turkish Cotton Compare to Egyptian Cotton?

    Egyptian Cotton is known for its absorbency, which is especially suited for apparel and sheets. However, in towels too much absorbency means that a towel remains wet long after use. Also, towels that are too absorbent tend to become wet in humid climates all by themselves.

    Turkish Cotton provides the perfect balance between absorbency and softness which makes it the best cotton to be used in towels.

    Turkish Cotton, when used in towels, provides maximum absorbency and efficient drying.

    Hope that helps…
    The Turkish Towel Company

  9. Hi Ted,

    We’ve never thought of using our luxury towels for car detailing, but they would never scratch the paint – these are very soft, durable, hotel-quality towels.

  10. Ted Melancon says:

    Are these 900 gsm towels good for auto detailing and are they pure cotton so they won’t scratch the paint?

  11. JOHN TAYLOR says:

    if possible without being biased what is the difference in cotton quality between countries and do you have a table say best to worst.

  12. Barry says:

    Every time I buy towels, I see these tag and now I understand what gsm means. Thank you!

  13. Hollister from Berlin says:

    You have a wide array of collections with a reasonable price tag. Informative post.

  14. Jamie says:

    Thank you for your explanation. I was about to purchase some towels when I saw the GSM acronym. Your explanation is very helpful, now I know I need to check the towels I have so that I can get something similar if not the same.
    Thanks again.


Meticulously woven with exceptional warmth and softness, all the Turkish Towel Company’s luxury towels, bathrobes and specialty products are woven from 100% Turkish, ring-spun cotton. Our Turkish towels are crafted by a family of skilled artisans, who have years of experience in textile production. The result? Our Turkish towels are incredibly plush, exceptionally strong and very absorbent. Shop for luxury Zenith Turkish Towels, Lexi Turkish Towels, Mini Squares White Towels and certified organic towels. Learn more about The Turkish Towel Company.